Banks are failing to capitalize on Big Data, says financial IT expert

Future disruption could be thwarted if banks work with Big Data more.

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Banks are neglecting to analyze the highly useful data being generated by new kinds of consumer-facing products, like apps, says an expert in the financial IT sector.

Many financial institutions are overlooking key intelligence and indicators that they could be taking advantage of to re-invent themselves and ultimately compete with future disruption, thinks Deanne Yamato-Tucker, who heads Xavient Information Systems’ banking and financial services practice. Banking disruption could include peer-to-peer, blockchain and services like Bitcoin, for example.

“Banks need to address the threat from new entrants such as PayPal, Google, Amazon, Apple, and P2P FX,” Yamato-Tucker told me in an e-mail. But they’re not managing their data properly to do so, she thinks.

Digital products and services, whether they’re mobile or not, need to be monitored, she believes. Also, by monitoring user feedback and comments on social media the banks could gain insights. Those insights “can be and should be used in the creation of next generation applications and services,” she says.

Xavient Information Systems specializes in IT consulting and software services. Its banking services division combines IT infrastructure with mobility, analytics and business intelligence, it explains on its website.

Creating payments, transferring funds and checking balances are offered now by pretty much all banks through their apps and online services. That was the “first round of banking innovation,” she says. The second will be “a ubiquitous customer experience, where the customer, and their devices, as a representation of the customer, is the center of the mobile ecosystem.”

What she means is that analytics and Big Data should be used to offer “specific services” and determine “rates based on a consumer’s banking patterns, levels of deposits, spending patterns, web browsing history, social media information, geolocation data,” and so on, she explains.

In other words, a customer’s experience and offerings should include more customization and segmenting. Yamato-Tucker not only uses the obvious example of customized portfolio management, but says offerings could include “inventories of possessions based on purchases with bank cards,” as an example. That kind of value add-on could be enough to differentiate a bank among the competition for some customers.

Biometrics, loyalty programs, savings programs and interactive money management programs can all be part of a personalized user experience, along with the aforementioned inventory, she reckons. It all becomes possible through better use of the data that’s being generated anyway.

Banks are becoming aware of these new opportunities and Yamato-Tucker says she’s seeing more budget being apportioned to data analytics and business intelligence this year. But they need to get a handle on the data, she believes.

In particular, metadata, which is the data about the data, or basic information about the detailed data, needs management, she thinks.

“With the growing variety and increasing velocity of data, banks need to develop comprehensive metadata management and data governance processes,” she says. “One cannot share and understand data effectively, and in a meaningful way, without managing the metadata.”

“My understanding is that most banks are in a relatively early stage of exploration and strategizing with regard to bitcoin and blockchain. Some foresee the future disruption and have invested in FinTech firms in an attempt to grow their share in what could someday be a less lucrative market,” Yamato-Tucker told me.

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